#471 The moment at the bar when everyone starts singing together

Let’s go out.

Let’s grab friends, let’s grab drinks, let’s make it happen.

Now, if you’re like me then even though you love hitting a busy scene, you sorta end up sticking to your own corner booth or tipsy table with your own group of friends. Sure, sure, rogue eyeballs drift and linger, small-talk could be swapped at the bar, and elbows might accidentally disrespect the buffer, but for the most part most of us stick to our own teams.

That’s what makes it special when everyone at the bar suddenly starts singing together. It’s a rare moment of unity that usually goes down one of three ways:

1. Sports cheer. Everyone’s watching the home team on the big screen. When a goal is scored as the clock clicks down and it’s time to grab each other’s shoulders, sway side to side, and let the tears stream down those painted faces.

2. Birthday brotherhood. Have you ever been at a family restaurant when the staff started singing happy birthday and everyone chimed in? Yes, this is when the magic of the ten-year-old’s flaming cake infects everybody with birthday love. The best part is when you get to the part where you’re supposed to sing the person’s name. Usually it comes out like “Happy BIRTH-day dear girl-at-the-barrrrrrrrr….  happy birthday to youuuuuuuu.”

3. Late night sing-a-long. Everyone’s chit-chatting into the early morning when suddenly the DJ drops a fan favorite and cranks it up. Fists pump the sky and drinks slosh around as Bon Jovi or Guns N’ Roses gets everyone jumping.

Yes, there sure is something sweet and something special about that magic moment when everyone starts singing together. It’s like the loud chords shake us up, the screaming vocals sweep us in, and our whole sweaty, sloshy crowd comes together in a big beautiful moment of

AWESOME!

– Email message –

“Greetings from Hungary! Behind me there’s the Buda Castle with the Matthias Church and I’m standing on Elizabeth Bridge over the Danube. There was a strong wind, I had to hold the book tightly :) And here’s my story: My boyfriend travels a lot because of his work. Now he’s working in Kazakhstan for a month. It’s the longest period of time we’ve been separated so far. It’s really hard to handle as we’re always spending all of our time together when he’s at home. But the arriving of The Book of Awesome and his departure to Kazakhstan happened on the same day :) And it helps a lot. Now every day I text him an awesome thing when I wake up to make his day better. And it works :)” – Eszti

Photos from:  here

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#472 Finishing your last exam

After sitting on a wobbly wood desk coloring in multiple choice bubbles for hours, you finally tip-toe to the front and hand in your last exam. Now you can say goodbye to biology, say goodbye to  photosynthesis, say goodbye to hypotenuses, and say goodbye to the hot stench of chalk dust and B.O. sitting heavy in the hot room.

Now you can say goodbye to early mornings, say goodbye to pop quizzes, and say goodbye to weekend homework.

Now you can say hello to summer.

It’s finally here.

AWESOME!

– Email message –

“Today I finally made my way to a bookstore to pick up The Book of Awesome. It took a while for my friend and I to find it … and he doesn’t know secretly I bought it for him! He’s a year older than me, and is going to college in the fall, but I have to stay home for my own senior year. So as a present, I’m giving him your book in hopes that on those hard freshmen college days he has a little something to cheer him up and make his day AWESOME!” – Katie

Photos from: here and here

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#473 When that social event you didn’t want to go to gets cancelled

Catch you next time, distant cousin’s baby shower. We totally would have been there, new coworker’s birthday party. Sorry it didn’t work out, someone we don’t know’s wedding.

AWESOME!

– Email message –

“My parents, sister, and I were fortunate enough to spend my 20th birthday in the U.S. Virgin Islands. I had shown my father your website, leading to a copy of The Book of Awesome for my mother on mother’s day and then surprising me with one for my birthday. Today I spent some quality sand covered time reading your book after an afternoon sting ray spotting and snorkeling!” – Kat

Photo from: here

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#474 When someone who doesn’t like pizza crust gives you their pizza crust

Personally, I’m a crustless gentleman.

Gimme that melty tip of of cheesy goodness, gimme that pepperoni with crispy edges, and then gimme another slice.

Yes, for my money Belly Space Analysis dictates I’m better off grabbing another slice from the box rather than chomp away at the crust’s puffy blandness. So I gaze up at the feasting lions clawing the pizza zebra to bits around me and offer up my crust to anyone who wants it.

Sometimes I even leave a little cheese and sauce at the edges to sweeten the deal.

If you’re a crust lover this is when your eyes flash fast and you growl at the others before tearing it from my hands and ripping it to shreds.

AWESOME!

– Email message –

“I have been a fan of 1000 Awesome Things since #708. When I heard The Book of Awesome was out, I was SO excited! I couldn’t find it at my local bookstore but my grandma lives in a different state than me so when I visited I checked her bookstore. Lucky for me, they had it! In fact, when I asked the man at customer service about The Book of Awesome, his face beamed and he immediately said yes. As it turned out, he was also a fan of your blog before the book had come out. He led me to the shelf, and there, in the middle, stood the book.” – Sam


Photos from: here and here

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#475 When your guests do the dishes even after you told them not to

It’s dinner party night.

Yes, sweaty and flushed, you run around baking bread and breaking eggs before that doorbell bing-bongs, the guests ping-pong, and everyone sits down to eat up your delicious homemade meal.

Of course, you enjoy the dinner — you love it, it’s great — but you don’t really enjoy it. No, you’re running around refilling glasses, folding napkins, scooping seconds, warming pies. You’re cleaning crumbs, wiping babies, and keeping an eye on the kids table. While everyone sits and chats you’re a Tasmanian Devil of dining room insanity, whipping into a whirlwind and making sure everyone enjoys their meal.

By the end, you’re completely and utterly exhausted. Your bones are bleeding, your skin is stinging, and your body is aching for a tender hug from a cushy couch.

This is why it’s great when your guests offer to do the dishes after the meal.

“No, no, no,” you say. “Sit down, sit down, sit down.”

But they insist, but you insist, but they insist, but you insist, but they insist … and then finally you just stare back at them with hollow, broken eyes and give up.

Now you crashland on the cushy couch as your guests fill the sink and bubble up the suds. And what a beautiful moment of sweet relief it is when you walk back in there and see everything sparkling clean.

Plus, for the rest of the week to get to enjoy the Treasure Hunt that comes with finding your own dishes in all the wrong cupboards. But it’s no big deal so just smile and enjoy those Gravy Boat Rescue Missions and Wooden Spoon Search Parties with a smile.

Yes, this one goes out to guests who wash the dishes even after we told them not to. Today we say thanks for love, thanks for the memories, and thanks for scrubbing the crusty casserole dish.

AWESOME!

– Email message –

“I just finished my Master’s degree and despite a never-ending job hunt move home in three days to live with my parents.  I have no clue where I’ll end up in the next six months and can’t help but feel defeated at times.  Regardless, reading The Book of Awesome helps to remind me that while jobs and homes may change, some things will always remain AWESOME!” – Amanda

Photos from: here and here

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#476 Biting off the last piece of the popsicle without losing any of it

Careful now.

You started strong but now you’re down to the drippy ice-cold clump in the middle of the stick.

You can’t reach it from the top, you can’t reach it from the bottom, and using your fingers or a fork is cheating. No, you’re going straight in and facing the big risk of a cherry chunk of icy goodness crashlanding into a neon pink stain on your shorts.

There’s no time for stalling so put on your game face and let’s get to it.

Take a deep breath and carefully twist the stick upside down really quickly while tilting your head sideways and loudly sucking your way into a tongue-twisting, teeth-tightening, gravity defying moment of pure popsicle biting

AWESOME!

– Email message –

“I’m a teacher of the blind who teaches braille to kids. I seriously want The Book of Awesome in braille! I’ve begun leaving little pieces of ‘awesome’ around my class in braille and we go for ‘awesome hunts’. These kids have it hard…i mean, REAL hard sometimes. Life’s hard when you can’t see, but there’s also a bunch of awesome stuff that you can do when you can’t see too! Thanks for making me a better teacher by teaching my kids how to BE awesome, and SEE the awesome in their world!” – Rachel

Photos from: here and here

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#477 Starting the lawnmower on the first pull

Time for a trim.

Yes, step into those grass-stained workboots, toss on a faded ballcap, and roll the rusty mower out of the wobbly tin shed. You’re about to spend an hour mindlessly chopping lawn so stare at those grass-covered wheels, duct-taped wires, and chippy paint patches before getting down to business.

Now, if you’re like me then before pulling that cord you sort of get it in your mind that you’re in for three or four full-body yanks before that machine starts purring. I don’t know about you, but since I’m a limp, wimpy noodle of a man I find pulling that cord about as physically draining as benchpressing a full keg of beer, building a house out of boulders, or dragging an 18-wheeler up a steep hill with a rope.

See, I put my whole body into it and just get some slow sputtering. Wheeze, wheeze, die, you feel me?

But hey, that’s what makes it great when us noodles  pull those cords and they start up on the first pull. Now when the motor starts up and the gas fumes float up we suddenly get to feel like the World’s Strongest Human.

Yes, pass the black spandex shorts, tattoo a skull on our neck, and toss us some barbells, baby.

We’re going in.

AWESOME!

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– Email message –

“So I finally bought The Book of Awesome! I’m addicted to books, so for the past while whenever I went to the book store, I kept seeing your book. Annnnnd every time I would pick it up and open to a random page and read it. Automatically I loved it. However I was broke until this past weekend. Its probably one of my favourite books because when I’m feeling down, I just open it up and I feel better. Oh and today I made homemade pizza. It was the best, its one of those things that make me happy because its fresh and you feel proud that you made it. Maybe it will become one of the 1000 awesome things, because it is pretty awesome?” – Tiffany

Photos from: here, here, and here

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#478 Hearing a song that reminds you of someone you love

The song starts up.

Suddenly your brain flashes back to late nights lying on the faded corduroy couch with your first boyfriend. Scratchy records spin in the background, the TV flickers on mute, and you cuddle under thin blankets while everyone sleeps upstairs. The chorus builds up as you kiss in the shadows by the ping pong table …

The song starts up.

Memory jolts zoom you to late night teenage dance parties when everyone drove rustbuckets to the dark city park and met for sneaky cigarettes, sweaty swingset rides, and dirty dancing under the dim moonlight as cars cranked Top 40 tunes in the parking lot …

The song starts up.

A homemade mix tape is slipped in your hand from a star-crossed lover before a long summer vacation. You lay in bed listening to the slashy first chords and boom-dropping bass again and again as your heart twists and turns for Labor Day …

The song starts up.

And sends you way back.

AWESOME!

– Email message –

“Today I cocooned at my parent’s cottage, curled up on a comfy 30 year old La-z-boy recliner to read The Book of Awesome. I can think of no better way to spend a rainy Sunday. Wearing my sweat pants I fondly remembered my Mom’s white ’95 Chevy Lumina, nicked named “The Dustbuster” (because it looked like one of those re-chargable vacuums) and the amazing power of orange slices. I laughed out loud a dozen times and just yesterday I walked through a department store door as it was closing, with out touching it. It felt great!” – A.J.

Photos from: here and here

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#479 Watching soccer and actually seeing a goal

Did you play soccer as a kid?

I did and let me tell you something, brother: it wasn’t pretty.

Nope, I was a baggy-shorts wearing, skinned-knees masterpiece of fumbly awkwardness. I would strap my glasses around my head, velcro up my sneakers, and keep the bench warm in case someone got hurt. My appearances were always marked by dark sweeping clouds, sudden hail storms, and my parents sitting on the sidelines in plastic lawn chairs with hot tears in their eyes as I brought down our family’s good name one defensive miscue at a time.

On the plus side, most of our childhood games featured a dramatic and neverending display of our team’s best offensive strategy: The Amoeba. Basically, we would get into a giant, snot-nosed clump of dirty running shoes and hairless legs and run after the ball in a Braveheartesque death charge, only with less face paint and more grass stains.

When The Amoeba slid down field we’d leave our goalie all alone and he’d become a quiet six-year-old study in zen mastery. Yes, we’d be rushing away and he’d absentmindedly play with his shoelaces, catch grasshoppers, or stare deep into the core of the sun.

When The Amoeba slid down field we were unstoppable. We’d kick ball after ball to the back of the net and then run around like maniacs. Most of our goals went in because their goalie was busy studying zen mastery as well.

And sure, our games lacked acrobatic scissor-kicks, field-length boots, and curvy corner shots, but they sure had goals and plenty of them.

Yes, it’s always electric when careful criss-crossing climaxes in booming shots to the back of the net. And it’s always a bit disappointing when it doesn’t.

It sure is great watching soccer and actually seeing a goal. So just hold your breath, cross your fingers, and pray it eventually happens.

AWESOME!

– Email message –

“I asked for The Book of Awesome as a gift from my stepmother who bought it for me in Canada. It came all the way from Montreal to Durban South Africa via Ethiopia and Johannesburg. It’s a well travelled book and I love it. Here is a picture with Durban Stadium and the ocean in the background. The Book of Awesome is at the World Cup!” – Kim

(Note from Neil: If you take a picture with The Book of Awesome at this year’s World Cup, email it to me at 1000awesomethings at gmail. I’ll mail you a thank you gift!) 

Photos from: here, here, and here

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#480 Taking Friday off

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